The first game at Atlanta Stadium was held in April 1966.
Photo: Archives
Photo: Archives

Feeling nostalgic? Braves’ first 'new stadium' opened 51 years ago

You think you’re excited about the new Braves stadium?

Probably, but it might be hard to top seeing the first Braves game in their first stadium during their first National League season.

To hear The Atlanta Constitution tell it, that day at Atlanta Stadium — later known as the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium — was the definition of perfection.

The April 13, 1966 article began: “ ‘Isn’t this just the greatest?’ asked a chic young thing heading for her seat in Atlanta’s new stadium.”

It goes on to paint a picture of “firstnighters” singing, cheering, roaring and praising the Lord for the cloudless sky.

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The $18 million stadium attracted 50,671 fans as “major league baseball came to the Southeast for the first time in history.”

“Guys in business suits hobnobbed with laborers in shirtsleeves” about “how great it was to see the likes of Eddie Mathews and Joe Torre,” while “young girls sang lustily, ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game,’ and nobody even minded the corn.”

The Braves played the Pittsburgh Pirates and lost 3-2.  

The front page on April 13, 1966.
Photo: Archives

The stadium opened two years after breaking ground in April 1964.

Thirty-one years after the idyllic day described above, the team moved to Turner Field in 1997. And tonight, the Braves open the inaugural season at Cobb County’s SunTrust Park against the San Diego Padres.

It was fun having you in Fulton County while it lasted, Atlanta Braves. 

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Just how long will it take to drive to Atlanta Braves games, in time for a 7:35 p.m. first pitch? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution dispatched five reporters and editors to find out.

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